Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Deborah Denenholz Morse

Committee Members

Simon Joyce

Suzanne Raitt

Leisa Meyer


This thesis examines marriage proposals scenes in Victorian literature from 1847 to 1874. In four major Victorian novels: Jane Eyre, North and South, Can You Forgive Her?, and Far from the Madding Crowd, scenes in which a suitor proposes present the heroine with a choice that will determine the rest of her life. These proposal scenes play out as negotiations of these heroines' desires and provide them with insight about the daily reality of marriage. In an era where women were often sheltered from knowledge of what marriage actually entailed, the proposals in these novels allow the heroines to vocalize what they actually want and expect from the defining relationships in their lives.

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On-Campus Access Only